Yesterday we heard from Christina who was just beginning her 4000 footer journey alongside her boyfriend, TJ. In many ways they prepared for this new challenge, they did run into a number of issues. They often found themselves unprepared to deal with a variety of factors including Spring snow, howling winds, and swarms of black flies. Christina had said hiking Mt Hale was “the worst hiking experience of my life.” So did they continue?
You bet! And after some trial and error at the beginning, things started to look up from them. Christina and TJ have now hiked 14 4000-footers since May! I am really proud of them for sticking with it and continuously learning and adapting throughout their journey.
After they reached the double digits mark, I asked Christina to reflect on her journey thus far:
What is something you’ve learned about yourself in this journey?
I’ve always loved hiking but too intimidated to try anything above a couple thousand feet. I used to be the kind of person who never took chances or tried new things, even when I wanted to, for fear of failing and looking stupid. I’ve missed out on a lot of adventures because of that. The past couple years I created goals for myself around things I’ve always wanted to do, such as hike the NH 48. I used to spend more time wishing to do things, than actually doing them. Since starting the 48 I’ve learned to not be so afraid to make mistakes, and that I’m a lot more capable than I sometimes think I am. Sometimes I kick myself for not starting sooner, but it’s taught me to never pass up an adventure again.
What has been the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge was just getting started. I didn’t know any other hikers at the time and was so overwhelmed by the amount of information online, plus I barely had any gear aside from hiking boots. When I put myself out there and started talking to random hikers on social media (how I found Trail to Summit) that was the point when I felt confident I could really do this.
Is there anything you’d do differently?
Starting out I really didn’t give myself much time to prepare. The first couple hikes I wore cotton clothing, didn’t pack enough food and water, didn’t check maps to know where to actually find the trails, not giving myself enough time in the day, etc. Not being prepared really stresses me out and makes the experience less enjoyable.
What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone looking to start a new hiking challenge?
Don’t let fear hold you back! If you’re afraid you wont physically be able to do a 4k, start out slow and hike some small mountains and build up. If you’re afraid you’ll have to do it alone, find a hiking community on social media and connect with people. There are SO many awesome hikers who would love to help out a beginner. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, because you will make them, just believe in yourself and go for it, you wont regret it.
Is there anything you know now that you wish you had when you first started?
I wish I’d known how much I was missing and then I would’ve started sooner!
What’s the worst piece of advice you’ve been given?
Someone once told me to tackle the biggest mountain first just to get it over with. I feel like if I would’ve done that, having not been prepared or experienced, I probably would’ve hurt myself or been so discouraged to ever want to hike again. There’s no shame in starting out slow.
You can never be too prepared. I still struggle with not packing enough supplies sometimes, or forgetting that even though it’s 80 degree weather at home it could be 50 degrees on top of the mountain. Be prepared for anything and have fun!
Are you looking to begin hiking the NH 4000 footers? Check out these great beginner 4000 footers as well as the resources to help you get started! Have a question? Want to share a tip for new hikers? Leave a comment below!